ACES vendor gets green light to offer digital certificates

ACES vendor gets green light to offer digital certificates

By Christopher Dorobek

GCN Staff

APRIL 6—Agencies can start handing out digital certificates under the General Services Administration's Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract.

GSA has granted interim approval to Digital Signature Trust Co. of Salt Lake City to operate under its ACES contract. The company is one of three ACES vendors. Its certification is a significant milestone for the contract because it means agencies can begin offering certificates to users.

Digital certificates are widely considered a cornerstone of electronic government because they will enable citizens to sign online documents digitally, providing assurance of the signer's identity.

Under the ACES contract, each vendor must be certified before it can hand out certificates. Digital Signature Trust is the first to complete the process and receive interim approval to operate. GSA will grant final approval within six months, provided that Digital Signature Trust has demonstrated its "continuing compliance in the operational environment," an agency official said.

The two other vendors, AT&T Corp. and Operational Research Consultants Inc. of Chesapeake, Va., are expected to complete the certification processes by the end of May.

The three vendors were selected late last year [see story at www.gcn.com/vol18_no38/news/1058-1.html]. The National Institutes of Health has already awarded an ACES task order for development of its public-key infrastructure [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no3/news-briefs/1268-1.html].

Find more information about the ACES contract at www.gsa.gov/aces.

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